Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hobbit Day

Unfortunately, it was a little wet this morning, so we had our wee celebration inside. Nonetheless, we had breakfast and little gifts in honor of the momentous occasion (Bilbo and Frodo's birthday, for the Tolkien-illiterate). :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From the bookshelf

Even though the one piece of furniture we brought to Maryland was a bookshelf (and more books than it would hold), we still left behind in Niceville several full bookshelves. Choosing what to bring (and what to leave) was hard. But, now that we're settled a bit, and our school year's in full swing (even Jim's), we're reading -- a lot.

Books are found scattered about the house, their pages perused, enjoyed and often shared aloud. A perfunctory list of our current reads follows:

The Golden Children's Bible
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Pyle and King Arthur and His Knights by Warren
Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and her daughter (thanks for the recommendation, Jen!)
A Child's History of the World
Watership Down
Amusing Ourselves to Death
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (The Faerie Queen)
Microbe Hunters
Selections from the old Greeks: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides
Birth of Britain by Winston Churchill
CLP Nature Reader (book 1) - a favorite of Emmy Xiang's
What Ever Happened to Penny Candy?
A Child's History of England by Dickens
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made 
various books in the Redwall series (we can't peel them from Gracie's hands often enough)

And, of course, we're reading THE book, God's Word

And most of us occasionally will be found devouring a bit of dear Jane's novels (Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and every now and then Emma finds herself off the shelf).

Sigh. What could make one feel more at home than a comfortable place to curl up with a steaming cup of tea and a good book!

Home is where the books are!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Little Exploring...

Friday rolled around, and we decided that our weekly field trip would be more exploration than education. On the agenda: scout out the Smithsonian Museum of American History and wander around the National Gallery of Art.

The rain has been torrential over the past week, so we dropped Daddy off at school and then drove to the Metro station. 45 minutes later, we took the escalator up and found ourselves looking upon the Mall. Pretty cool, huh?

Upon arriving at the American History museum, we were greeted by President Washington himself. However, we all agreed that there is something a teensy bit awkward about George Washington in a toga... Just sayin'.

Being a school for girls, we oo-ed and ah-ed our way through the First Ladies exhibit. But, as Katie said, dimmed lighting in museums may add a cool effect, but it's not conducive to photography. Sorry for all of you hoping to drool over inauguration ball gowns.

Of course, no first lady wore these, but we thought Mrs. Becky would enjoy a picture of "the real thing." (We miss you!)

The last exhibit we enjoyed was a collection of musical instruments. Without a doubt, this guitar was one of the most stunning pieces there.

Next stop was the National Gallery of Art, one of our family's favorite attractions in D.C. Absolutely breathtaking, overwhelming, and magnificent!

We spent most of our time, wandering about (with expressions of complete stupor, I'm sure) the 16th and 17th century Dutch and Finnish collections, with a little bit of time in the Renaissance art. But, of course, a picture is worth a thousand words...

Throughout the museum, modern artists stood at their easels imitating the great master's works.

This specific one puzzled us all, as the artist chose to add his or her own flair!

The sun came out as we, reluctantly, left the Gallery of Art. We had a quick picnic of cucumber sandwiches, grapes, and peanuts, before heading back to the Metro station.

A lovely first little jaunt into D.C. Here's to many more lovely field trips!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seminole Saturday Afternoon

God's timing is good. Spending much of this year in YOT (Yankee Occupied Territory) -- even if those Yankees are really nice peeps, just like our sweet Yankee neighbors back home -- God was pleased to keep my cousin in nearby Virginia. It is nice to have good, Southern family time (i.e. college football).

A short drive south (okay, it was an hour) brought us to my cousin's house. We came bearing guacamole, salsa and black bean soup. Lee, my dear, sweet cousin, made a batch of "Football Dip," meatballs and at least two pitchers of the ambrosia of the south, sweet tea.

The guys chatted, the younger girls played, and the rest of us whipped up the food. Then we watched us some football!

It was loud when we scored. Lee broke out the cd player, and we'd sing the FSU Fight Song, chanting "F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E, Florida State, Florida State, Florida State! Woo!" We missed hearing Gene, Gene Sports Machine call the game, but even without, it was just like being home.

Nice to win a game. (For once.) Nice to be with family.

 Real nice.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hiking at Great Seneca

On one of our first days here, we saw a sign for "Great Seneca Stream Valley Park," and decided to check it out on Wednesday morning. It was so beautiful and the hiking trails were so much fun. This will be a great place for us to frequent through the varying seasons, and we look forward to watching the plants change with the seasons! Definitely, this is a new favorite spot!

It was so lush and green-- absolutely wonderful!
The trees were tall, and provided shade to keep us comfortable on our hike.
Oh, that stinkin' cute Munchkin-Face!
Aren't those the strangest (and prettiest) flowers? They were everywhere-- so lovely.

Our trail followed this stream.

Amazing trees! Can't wait to see what this looks like in the fall :)
The camera gets a workout... (the second photo in this post was being taken in the above photo)
Field Guides and Nature Journals!
And happy hikers!